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The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Research Group: Transportation, Production Planning and Supply Chain

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We are interested in applying exact and heuristic techniques to tackle a wide range of transportation, supply chain and logistics problems, including traveling salesman and vehicle routing problems, production planning and scheduling, and Inventory control. Examples of methods we have implemented are mathematical programming, stochastic processes, exact and heuristic algorithms for combinatorial optimisation, artificial intelligence, game theory and Laplace transforms.

Transportation, Production Planning and Supply Chain
Production planning for heat and power cogeneration

Production planning for heat and power cogeneration

We study optimal production planning problems arising in Combined Heat and Power generation Plants (CHPP), i.e., systems where a production unit transforms gas into, at the same time, a combination of electrical power and heat, thus supplying both heating demands (of, e.g., large buildings) as well as power demands. Due to the uncertain nature of those demands, we develop robust optimization techniques to produce production plans which are feasible for a large amount of possible scenarios, as well as multistage robust optimization algorithms to produce solutions where a part of the plan can be modified after the uncertain demands are observed. We also address the extension where many CHPPs are intertwined via a heat network. This activity is deeply connected to the development of robust optimization techniques for lot sizing and supply chain problems.

Rich Variants of the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem

Rich Variants of the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem

The capacitated vehicle routing problem (CVRP) is a classical operational research problem in which distribution services need to be optimized. Given a fleet of vehicles stationed at a depot and a set of customer requiring delivery, the CVRP aims at finding the optimal set of feasible routes such that each customer is visited exactly once. The CVRP is very challenging from the theoretical viewpoint but crucial for the success of industrial and service applications. Effective routing algorithms reduce consistently massive transportation costs, increase customer satisfaction by reducing delivery times and reduce CO2 emissions. We are interested in rich vehicle routing variants such as CVRPs "enriched" by constraints and objectives typical for real world distribution problems. A particular emphasis is given to those applications in which customer satisfaction and environmental concerns have to be taken into account.

Supply Chain

Supply Chain

Our current research interests include the optimisation of and collaboration in supply chains of independent actors and to understand how logistics (inventories, transportation, production), as well as contracts (payment structure, service levels, penalties, etc), build relationships between the profit functions of these companies through costs and revenues. This applies to forward supply chains (consumables), reverse logistics (recycling), closed-loop supply chains (repair and reuse of e.g. spare parts) and horizontal collaboration (e.g. pooling arrangements of beds in hospitals). Other applications include the system-wide optimisation of the cost-service trade-off across large numbers of SKUs (stock-keeping units), pre- and descriptive models of cooperative games, the parameter setting problem of meta-heuristics, and the benefits of asynchronous parallelisation of search algorithms.

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